Category Archives: Festivals

Caring Matters

Dear Bibliophiles and those visiting Penang this weekend,

The George Town Literary Festival and it’s related events are set to keep us all on our toes as we have fun being introduced to new book titles and their authors and have a great start to Christmas shopping!

How about taking some time out and going on a photographic exploration of love, caring relationships, social and filial ties?

It is being presented by Karyn Coxall-Leong from Friday 22/11/2019 till 29/11/2019 at Viva Victoria’s Upstairs Gallery at 169, Lebuh Victoria.

The exhibition opens at 6pm this Friday and runs from 12 noon till 11.30pm on other days.

“In a time and place where technology, convenience, consumerism lead, it is so very easy to get caught up in the everyday goings-on, ” says Karyn.

“No matter your circumstances or where you come from, we must all make an effort to remember family and community as the true lynchpins of life.”

(Images courtesy of Karyn Coxall-Leong)

Fay & Food

My first “sighting” of this lovely and funny soul was at The Star Penang newsroom in 1993, when I joined as a reporter and she was the paper’s freelance writer/stringer.

Once she got behind the computer she would remain focussed and quiet as she went about putting together her famous food reviews.

The sub-editors usually found themselves needing to consult the dictionary when clearing her copies (Aiyo Fay, why are you using such big words, you think our readers can understand, meh? was usually conveyed to Fay by Anna Cheah our then chief sub-editor) Fay would simply smile and give some funny retort and everyone would laugh.

Her love for food was legendary. Some of us would join her for quick hawker meals close to the office when she stepped in to meet her deadlines. As most people know, this foodie was just as adept in appreciating fine food and made no bones when any dish did not meet her exacting standards.

When she moved on to other interests, especially in publishing, I used to pick up her nifty card sets with watercolour images of all things Malaysiana and even tried her ‘Miss Khoo’s Asian Deli’ gourmet products at the time, as I heard they had found their way to the shelves of Harvey Nichols in the United Kingdom.

The writer, TV and radio host, publisher, lover of all things nautical and much-loved daughter, always had a kind word for everyone and we missed her laughter and teasing when she left The Star to pursue other projects and adventures.

It was shocking and painful to many of us to hear that Fay, who was then 48, had left us after a brief illness in April, 2017.

Bettina Chua Abdullah and I had a mutual friend in Fay and our stories and friendship with this fun-loving soul are different and yet, the same. Fay shared different friendships with different people and made her mark which can never be erased.

Which now brings us to the third edition of the Fay Khoo Award for Food and Drink Writing which Bettina organised and has been directing to honour Fay’s legacy.

The call for entries has been made and details found below. The 2019 winners will be announced at this year’s George Town Literary Festival which takes place in Penang from Nov 21-24 (please mark your calendars)

Thank you Bettina, for your dedication in keeping Fay’s memory and our friendships alive!

(In addition to written narrative entries for the award, comics and graphic stories are also open to authors and illustrators wishing to submit illustrated narratives)


The aim of The Fay Khoo Award for Food+Drink Writing is to recognise new and talented voices, and to encourage and develop excellence in food and drink narratives. We believe that there is a space and a need for well-researched and impactful food journalism, because it is through such writing that we can shine a light on people, culture, health, economics and the environment of culinary delight.

This year we hope to present awards to the three best entries, regardless of category. Please read the conditions of entry and submission guidelines carefully, as these have changed from previous years.

The CONDITIONS OF ENTRY are as follows:

• All writing must fall into the categories of personal narrative, reportage or creative non-fiction.

• Entries should not exceed 2000 words.

• Entries must be submitted in English, and must be the sole work of the entrant.

• Entries must never have been published, self-published, broadcast or uploaded on any

website, blog or online forum.

• Anyone over the age of 16 years at the time of the closing date, who is a citizen or resident

of ASEAN countries, may submit up to three (3) entries.

• A fee of RM 20 per submission will be levied to cover administrative costs.

Processing of fees is made by Hikayat Lebuh Pantai, which manages The Fay Khoo Award, upon submission of entry/entries.

Bank details are as follows:

Maybank | Hikayat Lebuh Pantai Sdn Bhd | 557018565194

Please reference your payment with FKA and your WhatsApp number: eg FKA 012-345-6789

If you do not have a mobile phone, please use a landline number.


• Entries must be saved in Microsoft Word format, and emailed to

• Entries need to be double-spaced and the word-count noted at top of the first page.

• Entries must include a WhatsApp or landline number, so that you can be sent a confirmation

that your entry has been received, and we can link submission fees to your entry.

• To protect the integrity of the judging process, entries must not include your name or email address. We will contact you via the WhatsApp or landline number you have provided, for your name and other necessary information.

• Amendments or revised versions will not be accepted.

• Entries will be accepted from July 15, 2019 and must be received by September 15, 2019.

• A fee of RM 20 per submission will be levied to cover administrative costs.

• Entrants who have not turned 18 by November 1, 2019 must provide a parent/legal guardian’s name and contact details.


• There will be three (3) judges for the Fay Khoo Award. The judges’ decision is final.

• The judges will not comment on individual entries.

• The Fay Khoo Award reserves the right to change the panel of judges without notice.

• A Longlist of up to 15 entries will be announced by October 10, 2019, and writers notified by WhatsApp and email.

• A Shortlist of 6 entries will be announced by October 28, 2019, and writers notified by

WhatsApp and email.


• The winning entries will be announced at the George Town Literary Festival between

November 21-24, 2019. Accommodation will be provided for the day of the prize-giving.


• Worldwide copyright of each entry remains with the author, but by virtue of submitting an entry, participants are assigning unrestricted right to publish the winning entry, shortlisted entries and long-listed entries in any format. This right is granted to the managers of The Fay Khoo Award, Hikayat Lebuh Pantai Sdn Bhd and its associates in perpetuity, upon submission of the entry for consideration.

• The Fay Khoo Award will retain fully all income generated by publication of the winning entries, shortlisted entries and long-listed entries, while the author will retain all income generated by their publication separate to this.

• In cases where the author of a winning, shortlisted or longlisted entry independently publishes said submission, the author will mention that the piece was a winner or shortlisted or longlisted entry in The Fay Khoo Award for Food+Drink Writing.


• Each of the three winners receives a cash award of MYR1500, and a book voucher for MYR500

• Shortlisted entries may also receive other supplementary prizes, at the discretion of the organisers.


• The organisers of the Fay Khoo Award reserve the right to amend these conditions of entry

if deemed necessary. Any changes will be posted on the award’s Facebook page.

• For further information, please email

(Images courtesy from the FKAward Facebook and Fay’s)

Children from the Heart

For those in town this weekend for the George Town Literary Festival or the school holidays, a refreshing art exhibition by kids is worth checking out in our heritage city.

Location : Jetty35 潮人居

35, Ground Floor, Pengkalan Weld, George Town, 10300 George Town, Penang

The Children from the Heart art exhibition, gathers 54 pieces of art work, created by various age groups of children at Cherry Art – a space of art expression for children.

The exhibition runs till 30 Dec 2018, and enquires can be directed at: Ms Ho Chin Chin: 012-4943726

(Images courtesy of Tan Yeow Wooi)

#art #kids #travel #georgetown #exhibition #gtlf #georgetownliteraryfestival

Susan’s mandala for the trees

A walk along the streets of George Town after dark is never dull with Susan.

She ‘sees’ things that the rest of us don’t and good naturedly laughs along with us when we poke fun at her ‘ghost’ sightings!

Susan’s love for nature, words, colours and forms (pun intended!) takes her along a multitude of paths.

When Susan Loone the journalist is not busy chasing headlines and bylines in Penang (and beyond), she draws and paints.

The self-taught artist pains in ink and acrylics, and has a fondness for painting abstract art of women and nature.

“Every painting comes from a deep sense of realisation that life cannot move forward without appreciating, protecting and loving women and nature,” she says.

“As a writer, I deal a lot with words, but there comes a time when words are lost, when there are too many words but no one listens anymore, so I turn to art.

“Art for me is not only therapeutic, but a creative process that is personal, private and yet political.”

In conjunction with this year’s George Town Festival which kicks off today, a window treat of Susan’s art awaits those pounding the streets of George Town.

From Aug 2 till Sept 2, Rang 8 Cafe along Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling will showcase Susan’s painting called ‘A Mandala for Trees’ in its window.

Using the medium of ink and paper, the framed piece of work (priced at RM300), the artist channels a prayer for a greener and healthier world.

“It is my way of praying for trees to be honoured and loved as they are part of our lives, and they are alive,” Susan notes.

(All images but one courtesy of Susan Loone)

Artist contact:

Ode to Sa Pek

Some stories require minimal words, because the photos say it all, and do so in a compelling and articulate manner.

Welcome to George Town where the month of July seems to have taken off with features of photographers who are standing out as fascinating storytellers of a city and island steeped in colour, culture, nature, heritage and endless charm.

Visual artist, photographer and graphic designer Goh Hun Meng and three generations before him lived in the clan houses of the Khoo Kongsi (Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi) at Cannon Square, a George Town World Heritage site.

Pivotal to a photography exhibition he is presenting during the upcoming George Town Festival, is his 82 year old uncle and godfather, Goh Kong Chuan.

“Sa Pek” or Third Uncle as the elder Goh is referred to in the family, was an avid photographer and showered his nieces and nephews with much kindness when they were growing up.

He also served in the Reserve Army and gave ballroom dancing lessons.

He also used to capture milestones in his family’s lives and the laughter and tears punctuated in between, with his trusty camera.

“My late grandmother (born between 1910 and 1912) was a Khoo who had lived in the clanhouse since she was five, “ Hun Meng said.

“When we were growing up, Sa Pek used to give pocket money to my cousins and I and took many precious family photos.

“Today he is 82, suffers from dementia and lives in Pulau Tikus with his wife Lim Poh Geok. His memory is not as good as before.

“The exhibition showcasing his precious collection of photos is my tribute to a man who has always cared for his family.”

Hun Meng is also looking to raise funds for his aging uncle by selling the photographs on display and donating all the proceeds to Goh Senior.

The exhibition which runs from 9 Aug to 3 September, 2018 (from 11am-6pm daily) opens on Aug 11 at 10.30am @Jetty 35 located on the ground floor of 35, Pengkalan Weld, George Town, 10300 Penang.

(All images courtesy of Goh Hun Meng)

(Note: the 16 clan houses which flank the alleyway from the main entrance to the central Clan Temple and courtyard of the Khoo Kongsi where Hun Meng and family lived, have morphed in recent times, into a 43 guest roomed boutique hotel called Clans Kongsi George Town. The story is found in an earlier posting ‘Amazing Slices of History @ClansKongsiGeorgeTown’ in this same blog

#postcodegeorgetown #georgetownfestival2018 #photographyexhibition #photoessay #unescoworldheritage #gohhunmeng #khookongsi

Celebrating David Loh’s Homecoming

Journalist David ST Loh left Penang three decades ago to work for news organisations like Reuters, The Star and more recently, The Malaysian Insight.

The internationally-published Loh has spent 26 years in the media industry, of which 21 of them were as a photojournalist. He later moved on to became an editor at the award-winning photographic department of the Reuters Ltd news agency.

He left Reuters in 2016 as Editor-in-Charge (EIC) for the agency’s Global Pictures Desk and today works for The Malaysian Insight.

Previously based in cities like Kuala Lumpur, London and Singapore, Loh’s images have graced many global newspapers, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, UK Times and others. He was also part of a judging panel for the ChinaInternational Press Photo Contest 2016.

He has now come full circle and returned to Penang last year and calls this island home (again).

Since then, Loh has been exploring his home state with a revived passion, discovering new and interesting things to see and photograph, on land or from above.

(A 35m table laden with offerings during the Jade Emperor’s birthday celebration at the clan jetties in George Town, Penang)

Using a drone, he scours places that might hold interesting terrain, landmarks and features and he has not been disappointed with every deployment of the drone.

His aerial images will form a part of a curated collection of his work for an upcoming photography exhibition.

(A cruise ship at the Penang Port Cruise Terminal at dusk)

The ‘Over Penang Photography Exhibition’ is part of the George Town Festival 2018, will be held at the Eastern & Oriental (E&O) Hotel, Victory Annexe, 10 Lebuh Farquhar, George Town, Penang.

The exhibition runs from August 4 till Sept 2, 2018.

The homecoming exhibition is aimed at imparting a sense and fresh feel of how the city has changed, in tandem with the island maintaining its essence of combining heritage and progress .

Loh has been painstakingly and continuously documenting Penang Island as the island state tries to find a happy balance between progress and preservation.

(Mercurial lakes at Frog Hill, Tasek Gelugor, Seberang Prai, Penang)

“Penang,” Loh notes, “is such an amazing place where there seems to be non-stop events, activities, things to do, and places to go.

“If you are prepared to go out and look, you will never be bored in Penang.”

Welcome home, David Loh and keep “clicking” and continuing to share with us your amazing work of the Penang we all love!

(All images courtesy of David ST Loh)